City manager Jennifer Phillips and Mayor Andy Rheaume agreed that 2019 will be a banner year for Bothell.
Phillips, who was the featured speaker at the Bothell-Kenmore Chamber of Commerce’s Jan. 16 luncheon, reviewed Bothell’s 2018 accomplishments and outlined its 2019 goals during the annual State of the City presentation.
Highlights from last year included celebrating the re-opening of Main Street, fostering regional connections and being named one of the nicest cities in the United States. The passage of the city’s two ballot measures for a “Safe and Secure Bothell” in November 2018 marked “the culmination of just a really terrific year,” Phillips said.
Phillips said she sees the state of the city through “the lens of community,” whether it’s “protecting and moving our community,” “supporting our business community,” “engaging our regional community” or “welcoming our visitor community.”
She unveiled part of Bothell’s new tourism program, which encourages visitors to “Begin at Bothell.”
In 2019, the city’s focus will also be on fiscal responsibility and environmental stewardship and sustainability, as well as continuing to work on other goals from previous years, including affordable housing, community connections and economic development.
“Last year…I talked about the fact that the budget wasn’t looking so great,” Phillips said, noting that Bothell is anticipating deficit spending in 2019 as expenditures are rising at a faster rate than revenues.
The city was also spending down its reserves, but was able to shore up those accounts with one-time monies, she said.
The city manager has a plan: to address the structural deficit, balance the budget, modernize the finance department, look at cost cutting, efficiencies and revenue options and come up with a long-term strategy.
“We’re also putting our hands out to our state Legislature,” Phillips said, as Bothell submitted funding requests for Interstate 405 improvements, the Canyon Park subarea plan update and the bridge at Bothell Landing.
Though the city did talk about a B&O tax, a head tax and business licenses during its budget discussions last year, Phillips wanted to reassure chamber members that the Bothell City Council is very supportive of business and wants to have collaborative discussions to understand the impacts before making a decision.
“All we want to do in ’19 is talk to you…and together, as a community, figure out the future of Bothell,” she said.
The city also wants input from the community as it prepares for the 10-year update of its Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) plan, as well as for other city and regional projects.
Rheaume said that though he won’t seek re-election after eight years of council service, he’s excited for 2019 because the Bothell council, staff and citizens are “rowing in the same direction.”
See www.bothellwa.gov for more.